Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What if I don't want to?

What if I don't want to try to rebuild? What if I don't want to figure out how to forgive or restore relationship? What if I just cannot force myself to put the needs of the children before my broken and destroyed heart? What if he's done nothing *new* in 6 months but it doesn't matter? What if he's done everything I asked...and I just cannot...cannot get through this pain?

What if this just hurts too much? If the pain is too intense, the betrayal too strong, the damage too deep?

What if I don't want to restore this marriage and I just want this pain to lessen? What if I think that the pain is less when he's not around and I want to be done?

Its not best for the children. He's contrite. He's done everything I've asked of him. He's honored every boundary, worked on this marriage and his own issues, held onto his sobriety, stayed compliant on his medications. Yet...I just don't think I can do this. I don't think I can get past what he did to me. I don't think there is anything he can ever do to make me feel loved and cherished again when he so fundamentally and horrifically DID NOT LOVE ME.

My husband slept with at least 40 other women. The prostitutes, the massage parlors, the one night stands can all be atributed to his mental illness. Bipolar I with sexual compulsivity...all well managed with the proper medication regiment...if only he had been honest with myself and his doctors after the first encounter instead of letting it go five years.

But, the affair. It doesn't fit. Its not part of his mental illness, and he knew it then and he knows it now.

I gave birth to our 6th child. I nearly died from hemmoraghic bleeding. Our rental house went into foreclosure and we had 3 weeks to find a new house and get moved. Then, I started developing a life threatening allergy to tree nuts. In the middle of that....he started an affair. Every day he came home to me and professed to love me, to be worried sick about me, to be devoted to me. And, every week he was doing things in parking lots that would have gotten him arrested. Every other week, he had 'lunch meetings' complete with hotel accomodations. For months, through my health issues, through the start of M's adoption, through the start of my ovarian cyst issues, he was having this ongoing affair.

And yes, around my 31st birthday he magnanimously ended the physical affair. He also feel into a deep, clinical depression when he ended the affair. And then, the depression lifted when he re-started the emotional affair. And, he held onto that emotional affair until AFTER I discovered his nasty little secrets. When M was in the hospital having a bowel obstruction...he hung up with ME in the talk to HER. He gave her our intimacy...and he gave her a part of MY CHILDREN. She was 'worried' about M. What RIGHT did she have to be worried about MY child. I was worried about my son! And, for 20 minutes, he ignored my repeated phone calls. I thought he was talking to doctors. The phone records showed he was not.

He gave her up when I found out the REST of his dirty secrets. He wants acknowledgement for that. I don't have it to give him. All of the nightmares since M has come home...she was in our lives because he let her there through all of it.

I don't think I want to forgive. I don't think I want to forget. Every night I dream he has either died or left me. Every day I struggle to contemplate my future. And, I finally realized I cannot see my future because I don't believe he is going to be IN my future anymore. He took himself out of my future. And, I don't know how to give up. I don't know how to stop loving him and to walk away. I don't know how to break my children's hearts and acknowledge that he killed all that was precious between us. I told him today, when I figure out how to do that then I think it will be over. When I figure out how to walk away, and I just cannot take the pain any longer, then I'm going to walk away from this marriage and be done.

I don't know what else to do. I cannot make this pain stop. It just hurts too much. The betrayal is just too deep. I don't think the last six months can change the five years he spent betraying me and destroying us. I don't believe he loves me. I don't believe he'll be faithful. And, I don't think he can ever convince me either of those things are true.

If I knew out to make this decision without breaking the hearts of 8 children, I would ask him to move out now. I don't want Plan B. I don't want another chance. I don't want to restore this. I want to be done.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I got a blackberry this week. I've decided I am going to Physician's Assistant school and every single one that I have looked at has a requirement for a smartphone of some sort. While I used my very old upgrade on a whim because II ticked me off by saying I didn't need a smartphone, I also decided I need to learn to use one of these before I am actually required to use it for school.

What I have discovered is that with a full keyboard on my phone, this texting thing that II and A prefer to use constantly is actually...a breeze.

What is particularly fun? Naughty texts. I know that II employed sexting with his affairs. I know its a pretty common media that is used when a spouse cheats on their partner. I certainly didn't set out to try and understand what he did, not by a long shot. Texting is merely easy than trying to talk when someone is screaming, or I know he's in a computer lab programming or studying on campus. I can toss it down and come back after I change a poopy diaper, and yet I can still converse with II.

It just so happens that I let the texting go...down a very intimate path. I actually think I started it, honestly. Innuendo and banter has always been part of our relationship. Its been part of our texting in the past, but I could never text well because I had no keyboard and it was frustrating.

We've always sought ways to maintain intimacy over the heads of the children. We've one by one lost our ability to talk over their heads over the last deacade. It so happens that texting gives us back that ability. Its private again, and we can say it in the room with the kids again.

And so we have. And, its....AMAZING. I get why people would seek this out. Really, I do. Its thrilling. Its risque. Its fun. And yet...I'm sexting my husband. I'm creating intimacy between us that strengthens us. And, right now when looking at him honestly carries a lot of pain sometimes, I've discovered that I can touch his soul without fear of the flame burning for a moment in time. I've got a teenager, so like a smart parent I'm already on an unlimited texting plan. So, I'm not going to face a thousand dollar phone bill. I'm not taking away from my marriage.

I get the appeal of the behavior now. I really and honestly do. But, I'm not about to engage in this behavior with someone other than this man. He's my husband. He's who I am supposed to be intimacy and racy and risque with. Maybe more people who have sexted someone else should keep in mind that they are in fact making a connection with someone on the other end of that phone. If you shouldn't be making that kind of connection, then you need to back away and put the cell phone down.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Overdid it

So, I asked my professor yesterday if we had to learn one concept to minutia. We were told we did not need to learn the corresponding concept to that level of detail but my class notes shows those details on the concept. He said we were responsible for everything in the book and everything in the lecture notes. So, I learned it to the finite detail.

Oh, I way, way overstudied on this one. I think I was able to dial the cacophony of knowledge in my brain. But, I could be very, very wrong about that.

The bottom line is that I quit caring about this one at some point. I let myself obsess and hyperfocus on the test for as long as I could. Today, my emotions came crashing down. Yesterday was 6 months. 6 months of sobriety. 6 months of knowing my husband was an ass, a cheater, a fraud. 6 months of having no rock and partnership and of trying to dig myself out of this nightmare to move forward.

The scope and magnitude of what he did still takes my breath away if I think too hard on it. There will likely never be a full accounting of his behaviors. If he could give me that, I believe that he would. But at some point you have to accept that he did so much and so often that he genuine cannot remember all the details. If I had been told he had this history when I dated him, I never would have given him the time of day. Never would I have considered a relationship with someone having that level of sexual history. I don't feel at all happy that I married a virgin and he morphed into something far different, exposing myself and my children to his risks.

Yet, I'm trying to accept that if I'm going to stay with this man, then sobriety anniversaries are a part of life. And, I still believe my children firmly deserve for me to try and make this marriage work, even if I often don't want to be with him.

Today the tears began to flow. I couldn't stop them if I tried. Every day I still hope that I will wake up and this has all been a nightmare. Everyday I wonder what life was like before this pain. I guard myself very carefully in my interactions with other men now. Every interaction I have, the thought runs through my mind, I wonder if he would have hurt me like this. I wonder if another man is safer and offers less pain than the one I am married to. It always leds me back to the question of whether this relationship will ever exist without this pain now.

I don't know what I want from this. I don't know that I want anything from this. I want this to have all been a mistake, to have never happened and to have never taken my life and turned it into the caricature I live now. After 6 months, I'm starting to understand that its never going to happen.


I have discovered that I have extreme testing anxiety. I didn't think it was this horrible the last time around, but II assures me he went through my final year of nursing school with me and it was this bad. Interesting...considering I wasn't studying that year....

So, I have another biology exam tomorrow. I'm on this fence in biology that I want to scream about. I'm right at the 89/90 point, or halfway between A and B. I want the A! I should be able to accomplish the A. Yet, every test I miss the mark, but decimal points actually.

I think that I can still pull off a low A for the class overall. The requirement for lab sheets is weighted higher than each individual test. There's a quiz/homework grade which thus far has only amounted to several attendance quizzes. He also hands out extra credit opportunities that are applied to your final grade. Thus far, I've done one and I'm writing up a second one in the morning. Still, I really want to just get my tests over that threshold and into A's outright. So far, I've pulled off 89.5 and 89.6 for my two tests. See my frustration here?

I have another test tomorrow afternoon. Its all stuff I've learned in the past but he wants way more details on these than I've had to know before. The other stuff is super easy for me. Learned it, tested on it and pulled A's on the material twice already now--of the advantage of taking an intro Biology course and remembering your Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology from before.

How well I will do tomorrow will depend upon how detailed he gets in one specific concept. I've got the concept. I'm not so good in each individual finite detail. II wasn't even tested on those details. Makes no difference, we've both determined that my professor is far harder than his, except he keeps offering that extra credit. If I were taking II's professor, I'd have my A.

The challenge is good for me. I'm not convinced the stress is. And, I'm not sure how to handle these tests without freaking out.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Somebody just slap him please!

Every test cycle, II starts this whole panic/threaten to quit behavior. I'm SOO sick of it. I'm sorry. I know its stressful. I know he was raised to never have dreams and never believe in himself. I even understand that that self-defeatism led to his not exploring what he truly wanted in his life and not caring with his undergraduate GPA. I even know that is what is contributing to his struggles on whether he can even get IN to medical school now.

However, if he wants medical school badly enough, he needs to fight for it. Quitting is no more an option than failure, plain and simple. We left our lives. Yes, I had to leave that house, but I did not have to come *here*. We are *here* because that was the best set-up for II's dreams and because I fell in love with this town and quickly saw that I could make this arrangement work well for all of our dreams and needs. Were it not for his dreams, I would have moved closer to family than this...a lot closer to family at this point.

We found a way to make insanely tight finances work. We're facing the financial ruin and learning to crawl our way out of it. All of this, we're doing because I feel so strongly that rebuilding II and his dreams is just as important as every other member of this family. I believe with all of my heart that the life we lived denied him his dreams as much as it did me. As the sole bread winner of a large family, he had no ability to consider anything but the work he was given. He couldn't quit a job no matter what the work conditions, and there were 2 jobs over the years with illegal behaviors going on. He couldn't work for himself or seek out *any* flexibility in his jobs because he had to carry the family health insurance.

In short, II was reduced to a money making machine. He was no more a person in that old life than I was. And, being reduced to an entity and not a fully respected person played a HUGE role in what he did and where he went with his fall. Patriarchy nearly destroyed II just as much as it nearly destroyed the children and I.

To repair this entire family, we have to restore every single member of this family. II is still a member of this family. For the same reason I carefully considered which children would be better served in public school versus homeschooled, I had to accept that his needs and his dreams were important to this family as well. I wasn't going to sacrifice this entire family and have myself or the children with needs unmeet for those dreams. But, I did feel it was important to rearrange this family to accomodate his needs as much as ours.

To lament and declare he's quitting, or he's failing and will never succeed....I CANNOT handle hearing this!!!! Since when is QUITTING even in our vocabulary now? We do not get the option to quit. We are here. We are fighting for our dreams collectively. We are fighting to restore this family as a whole unit, for the health and well-being of every single member of this family. Either we're all here together, fighting to support each other every step of the way...or we all quit together.

I'm no quitter. I don't quit, and I'm not about to quit now. And, two weeks ago, I told II to either never talk about quitting again or just quit and walk away from his dream. You don't fight for your dreams and threaten to quit. If its so easy to consider quitting, then you didn't hold those dreams as tightly as you claim.

He stopped threatening. He started asking serious questions of those who would legitimately know whether this is even remotely possible. And, the resounding response is that YES--he CAN do this, he's doing GREAT. He's right on path to achieve his dreams. So, stop even considering that you'll quit.

Next hurdle, someone needs to make some income. The threshold of what needs to be earned at this time is extremely low. Because we're going to sell the old house, take the hit on our credit and rebuild, we've reduced our living expenses to bare minimum. A year ago, I never would have imagined that a family could live on what we're living on right now, but we are and we're okay. However, there's a very small gap between what we're bringing in now and what we need to pay out. Someone has to fill that gap. And, we're both full-time students with 8 children.

That's quite the delimma on how we're going to accomplish that. How do we accomplish that requirement? Well, we're slowly, dollar by dollar parsing out the final dollars we had of savings. We're on track to run into trouble in August/September. Someone has to be making income before that point.

II got a job today. Its at-home data entry. Its not what he made 4 months ago. Its more than sufficient to meet our needs now. And, the company is contacting him today or tomorrow to get started. Its immediate, he was hired on the spot. I'm thrilled. After months of applying for jobs and stressing that somehow, someway whatever job one of us found had to fit in our student status and our inability to go to a workplace well and at funny hours, this one is perfect for those requirements. He has two other potential part-time jobs in the works that look extremely promising and will supplement the income for our needs even more. Since we get our health insurance through the U now, we're not under pressure that either of us require a job with benefits, just a paycheck.

I'm thrilled by this development. I called my friends and my family to tell them about this breakthrough. I gave a head's up to a wonderful friend who also needs a job and needs flexibility and options as well. I started brainstorming how to set up a workspace for him protected from the children and with everything he requires to accomplish his job.

Know what II does? He mopes. He grumbles. He asks me not to tell anyone about the case it won't work out. He's afraid to 'hope' that things could go right for a change. DUDE. You're a high paying manager now working an at-home data entry job. You have a Master's degree and getting paid by the line. This is NOT perfection incarnate. This is workable. The job will be mind-numbingly boring...and you have to discipline yourself to work it anyway. You'll have deadlines to meet. And, no matter how well we isolate your workspace from the kids, there are going to be times they are going to bother you. Trust me fella, you did NOT just win the lottery. So please, please stop confusing yourself with Eeyore and celebrate something positive in your life for a change.

I'm ready to slap him. Seriously. Who the frick cares what a horrible mother you had. Who cares that no one believed in you, that you were raised white trash, that you were told you would never amount to anything. You have a beautiful wife, eight wonderful children, you made great money until December and could go back to that tomorrow if you wanted to, the bills are paid, the credit is restorable, and you're still married in spite of what you did. REJOICE. Your life is pretty darn good, all things considered.

I told him, and I meant it. I will not go through medical school with this attitude. Let it go, live in today and not in your baggage or I won't support you through medical school nor in earning your dreams. I'll quit. I'll withdrawal my emotional support and I'll disengage. I'm not your mood barometer. I'm your wife. And thank you so very much for just killing all my joy at this amazing blessing we have been given. The chance to make ends meet, to continue pursuing both of our dreams in spite of everything and the opportunity to have breathing room so we're not ready to puke at every dollar that goes out of the accounts finally. Thank you for robbing me of that joy today.

His appointment with his therapist cannot come soon enough...and I still have to wait until May. That was the soonest they could fit in a new patient. Seven months after I stipulated he had to go into therapy he'll finally get assessed for it. Hasn't been for lack of him trying. That's the one thing he's been absolutely consistent on, and its taken this long to accomplish. He needs therapy. I cannot hold hin up. Its not my job and I won't let it destroy me like this anymore.

So yeah, he got a job. Its apparently no big deal and he's quite certain it won't work out. But, for today he does have a job. Yea ray and I was so excited, merriment and all that sort of thing. What on earth was I thinking?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sold my diamond

Thirteen years ago, a young man with a good paying job and no bills bought a diamond ring to ask a young woman to marry him. I thought it was a 1/3 carat, but apparently it was actually 1/2 carat. I know it was expensive, but he never told me how much. Thirteen years ago, it was beautiful and far more than I ever imagined anyone would ever give me.

Six years ago, I faced a lost and scared 7 year old little boy who finally had the courage to ask Why. Why had his world been lost, brutality prevailed and his family killed? I looked at the diamond on my finger and I took it off in shame. I couldn't tell if it was a Blood Diamond or not, and I no longer cared. I got rid of all my other diamonds over the years but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of that one. Back then, II made good money and nice jewelry was something he bought me often. That first diamond represented the start of our lives, but it also represented the destruction of A's. I never knew what to do with that diamond and so it sat in my jewelry box.

My firstborn will be 16 soon. She is the one my mother locked me up to steal, and stole successfully. She's the one my father has partially give back to me in the wake of their divorce. She's still legally his. He loves her with his whole heart and he's raising her because he is her father. But, she demanded she be shared between them and I and my mother refused. Instead of sharing her and letting all of us love her, my mother threw her away like trash. So, now Lizzie lives with my biological father/her adoptive father (no he is NOT her biological father and most definitely NOT the person who raped me, nor did he know about what happened to get her from me to his custody until he poured over court documents in the last 2 years). But I provide the mother role in her life from a distance.

Lizzie wants one thing for her 16th birthday. She wants us to come visit. Its a long drive and our now full-time student income is extremely tight. We had paid off the credit cards and kept them in case of severe emergency. For Lizzie, we were going to use just enough to get there. It so happens that her birthday is during our spring break so we could take the time.

With the financial mess II created, the credit scores tanked, the credit card companies eliminated our balances to nothing. I'm grateful they didn't close the accounts since that would have tanked the credit score even worse. Thankfully, we do have a small cash savings account but we absolutely cannot dip into it for this trip. We'll lose every dime of those funds the next time M has to go to the hospital, we always do. That tiny account is sacrosanct and off limits. Only impending death warrants touching those funds.

I took a long hard look around my house yesterday. What did I have that was expendable. Well, I do have things. Years of solid income have yeilded lots of toys that we could do without. But, what did I have that I would not feel the loss of and the children would not mourn the loss of? The children and I have sacrificed so much for II's mistakes and I just don't want them to feel anything has been lost again.

Going on this trip is not a true emergency. It is a gift of sacrifice and love for Lizzie whose life has been just as rotten in the last year as my own. I was sick of the mere thought of having to tell my Dad, my other siblings and Lizzie that we couldn't come. Last night, I decided that diamond was the perfect sacrifice for Lizzie. And, it would provide the added benefit that I would lose the urge to shove it somewhere the sun doesn't shine everytime I looked at it sitting my jewelry box. Seriously, the thought of what I could do to extract a pound of flesh for the wound given to my heart by the purchaser of that diamond was a bit heady sometimes, even with making the concious decision to try to restore this marriage.

II understood my desire to sell the ring, and agreed with it. Since he never, ever told me the full value of that ring, he felt he was the only one to know whether the bargain was good. He knew the value of the ring. He knows the amount the trip will cost us. He took the ring in this afternoon and got enough money to cover the trip.

I did tell my father. He needs to understand how tight our finances are before we come. He too is struggling financially right now. When she was done with Dad and the Patriarchial life she has coveted for so long, mom drained all the accounts, spent his entire inheritance, hit the assests, renegotiated her own debts, froze him out of all the assests and tossed him out like trash. She hasn't paid a single dime of alimony nor child support in the 8 months since their divorce began. She hasn't paid for any of the needs of the children, nor even the bills she was court ordered to pay such as his mortgage and car payment. Long-term he will survive and thrive. But, today, he is living on a combination of several part-time jobs, cashing in most of his own retirement and financial support from my sister. He's been careful to not burden me with his own finances. But, his court date when he will fight tooth and nail to correct what my mother has done isn't until end of April. I know having our family there will be an additional burden for food. We need to cordinate that issue, and he needs to know how tight things are for us.

So, after letting Dad know yesterday there was a chance we might have to cancel the trip due to finances, I let him know I sold my diamond and got enough to secure the trip afterall. He was horrified. Did II know? How did II feel about it? Was I sure I wanted to do that?

Yes, II knew and he agreed. Honestly, what that ring once meant to me that was lovely was utterly destroyed. I actually feel like a burden was lifted in removing that ring from my home. And while II was in agreement, the truth is at this point I woulld have sold it without II being in agreement. I just wouldn't have known I was getting played and gotten significantly less money than he did with it.

I made a promsie to II and I actually meant it. When he graduates medical school (which he still first has to get into, ftr), he can buy me an anniversary ring. I did finally put the wedding band he purchased for Christmas on. But, I put it on my right hand. And, I have made the decision that it will forever reside on my right hand, not my left. If when he graduates medical school II has kept all of his promises to me, if he has remained faithful and has truly restored this marriage, and if he does NOT buy a diamond anniversary ring (or invests in Artic diamonds to be 1000% sure they are not blood diamonds), then I will proudly wear that ring on my left hand. It is the only ring I will ever consent to wear on that finger again. And, he has a very long way to go and quite a few mountains to climb and conquer before he could get to that day.

My children have accepted without question that Mom and Dad got new wedding rings, and that for some reason unstated mom went without hers for a long time and finally put it on her right hand. For my own heart, I have decided there is only one ring I would put on my left hand again. And, I don't know that such a ring and the promises and committment behind it will ever come to fruitition. I might someday put my Grandmother's pearl ring on that hand though. When my babies are grown and if I felt I needed to tap into the strength of my ancestral women. Otherwise, I prefer that hand blank. Its a reminder that no one will ever hold my heart, my hand or my trust with blind trust again.

And, after we went through this very emotional process and milestone today, II got a phone call on a job lead. He sent a job proposal to the General Manager of the hotel on Wednesday--the one whose wife is my friend. We're going to their house for dinner tonight and he indicated to II that a contract would a guarantee if II came in at market value. After analysing that level of work nationally and locally, II came in 10% under market value, despite his high level credentials. That job would bring in income, especially a shot in the arm of our finances quickly since there is IT work that is needed there quickly and immediately. However, II found a source of job ads for telecommunting jobs that were legit and applied to 6-8 of those which he was qualified for yesterday. One of those called him back this afternoon. He was taking Ch to the doctor and has to call them back as soon as that is over. I am hopeful that II can secure at least a part-time level of income to supplement what we are living on.

If I can make up my mind that I still believe in a God and Creator, I would believe that this is fortuitous and a promise that everything is ultimately going to be alright. But hey, if I still held that kind of faith I would think that the Jasmine blossoms I find myself surrounded in now that spring is emerging was a sign that I have found my home and won't have to leave this city. I don't have that kind of faith anymore. I dearly hope that God exists, that he still cares about me and that he is trying to tell me both of those things with the sudden job lead following the murky baggage of the ring and the blossoms for which my precious E is named for being sent to touch my soul now. Instead, I simply accept that if he exists and I have doubts, then he is big enough and strong enough to withstand my doubts. And, if I decide he doesn't truly exist, then it would hardly matter that I doubted something that didn't exist, would it.


A and E brought home their very first report cards last night. Now, E has severe ADHD in addition to Bipolar and OCD. For a month of this grading period, we had a gap in her health insurance. We were able to continue her meds for her OCD and her Bipolar through that gap, but not the meds for her ADHD. We tried giving her caffiene pills but they didn't do much of anything. For E, being without her ADHD meds is dibelitating, severely so. Without her meds, the child could easily qualify for SSI due to her mental health issues. She's unbelievable smart...and headed down the road of a lifetime of mental health struggles.

So, I was not surprised at the halfway point of the grading period when she brought home a progress report indicating 2 Fs. She was failing Science and Social Studies. She knew the material. Science has actually always been one of her absolute favorite subjects. She simply decided that how the schools teach science is stupid. She was insistent that science cannot be taught unless its done hands-on with experimentation.

Gulp, that's my fault. That's how I've always taught Science. And, its an excellent method for learning science, no doubt about that. Its also not a methodology she is going to get in public school until at least high school. We went rounds several times before I finally told her she could be right...or she could play the game by their rules and win--her choice. I also let her know that chlidren actually failing school need the time they normally devote to extra-curriculars to focus on their studies.

If she had been incapable of passing her classes, I wouldn't have taken such a hard stance with her. However, the primary reason E is not being homeschooled anymore is because of her absolte refusal to respect me as a teacher anymore.

I then held my breath in hopes that she would rise and accomplish what she was capable of. More than once she was screaming at me, "I CAN TOO make good grades in school!" Over and over again through this grading period, I assured her calmly that yes I knew full well she CAN make good grades. But, not finishing assignments, not bringing home her homework, not studying for spelling tests was choosing to not do well. She *can* do anything she sets her mind to. She was not setting her mind to this task. I was very worried she was going to fail. And, given how badly this school adminstration hates us, failing her subjects would likely landed her retained even though she and I both know she doesn't need to be retained.

She brought her report card home last night and waited to bombard me as soon as I got home from class. She didn't even tell her daddy she had it. She didn't even peak at her own grades. Good or bad, she wanted me to see it first.

In all but Science and Social Studies, she brought home A's. In those 2 classes...........C's. I hooped and hollered and ever cried. After seeing at least 3 Science papers with grades in the teens, I really and seriously wasn't sure she was going to pull it off. I was pretty sure I was going to have to explain to her that I had set the standards too high for her having just entered school and being off her meds for half of the grading period. I was seriously regretting setting a standard I was pretty sure she was going to fail, and I didn't want her failing in her state to public school. In the end, she did it!!!!!!!!!

Then there is A. A has ESL issues. I've always known he's an incredibly bright child. But, he entered our home at age 7-8 with absolutely no educational background. He loves for me to tell him the story about the round earth. His first science lesson in America was to learn that the earth was round and not flat. It took him 2 weeks and more than one NASA photograph of the earth to finally accept that truth. Once he accepted that, his mind miraculously opened up and his quest for knowledge and science has been unstoppable. But, English is his third language and reading and writing has been a slow and painful process for him. When his peers were learning their ABCs and 123s, he was learning to recognize blue hats because they meant safe drinking water. When his peers were playing with legos, he was learning to keep a wide berth of child soldiers for the sake of safety. He was getting lessons from his uncle that no matter how bleak the world seems you never, ever, ever sniff shoe glue to escape it. He entered an orphanage where education meant rote memorization or face a cane across the hands, arms, legs, buttocks and back.

For 6 years, I have told this child that he is amazing and brillant. For those same 6 years, he has convinced himself that I only say such things because I am his mommy and love him. He knows I don't lie. He just convinced himself that I was bias and stretched the truth because I was blinded by my love. Careful of his sensitive heart and insecurities, I had intended to keep him homeschooling. He threw me a curveball at Christmas and requested to go to school. He was starting to believe me that this was ESL issues...and he wanted a professional skilled in ESL issues to teach him.

He actually told me last month that he's still considering going back to homeschooling for High School,but he desperately wants to see his ESL services and full integration to completion. At least once a week, A takes over teaching his science class because he has a knack for explaining the concepts in ways the other ESL students can understand (years of his mother translating science into pidgin wouldn't have anything to do with that, I'm sure). His ESL teacher tells him constantly that he should become a doctor and not dream of being a professional soccer player. Considering the investement of resources and dreams already into his soccer career and the scores of coaches with stars in their eyes hoping to hitch their name to that future career potential, I'm sure they are groaning everytime he hears that he should become a doctor and not dream of soccer. I would love to see him become a doctor. However, I made peace a year ago with his soccer aspirations and his seemingly amazing talent in the sport. I have decided to let him focus on the sport so long as its what HE wants and what HE enjoys.

I've known A was doing well in school. Since moving him into the ESL program, he has been full of light and joy. He sets his own alarm, gets himself ready for school and eagerly dances by the front door waiting for his special ESL bus every morning. Going to the ESL program involves a grueling 1.5 hour bus ride each direction across the school district. It means that with my afternoon/evening classes and his insane soccer schedule (3 team practice nights a week and his coach has now added a 1:2 coaching session--that's A with 2 coaches, followed by joining team practice with another team on a 4th night of the week) and he and I hardly ever see each other anymore. We haven't even had time to try and find a Boy Scout troop for him. Yet, he is happy and thriving in this program.

And, his report card reflects that truth. A made HONOR ROLL!!!! He made all As and Bs in his schoolwork. He doesn't feel so stupid now.

In general, I cannot get over what these report cards mean for these children but also for this family. I started homeschooling a decade ago because I believed it was a superior academic education for early elementary school. Originally, I intended to homeschool early elementary and transition my children to public school somewhere between late elementary school and high school, depending upon each individual child. As I lost my grip in the rabbit hole, I began to fear sending the children to school. I feared I wasn't maintained their academics on par with their schooled peers. I feared the intrusion into our family. I feared the influences that going to school would open in their lives. In my worst moments as a homeschooling mother, I fantasized about sending them to school...and I simply knew they would be destroyed by going to school and my heart would break. It took total devestation to finally bring me to sending them to school. And, clearly the experiment did NOT go so well for the early elementary schoolers who have been brought back to homeschooling at this point. But, to see my fears for these older children not realized but they have soared...its amazing. It validates what I taught them, reaffirms the original ideas I had on homeschooling and am rapidly returning to without the legalism and bondage of the other stuff we embraced. Mostly, it just really means that these super smart kids went to school in BAD and stressful circumstances, and they thrived anyway. None of my fears materialized for these two, even with the challenges presented by this horrific elementary school administration.

They are going to be okay. I have no destroyed their lives, their world nor even their education!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I am almost positive my thyroid is out of whack again. When we moved, I opted to keep my long-term doctor and have him manage my thyroid from a distance. Its been a long road to regain my health on the thyroid issue and I simply don't trust anyone else to do this. After losing 40lb, I'm averaging 2lb a week going back on. I'm exhausted all the time and I'm having killer leg cramps. But, the final straw was when the kid who sits in front of me in Biology lecture started complaining about the hair I was dropping on him in class. Ooops, time to re-test.

Its one thing no one talks about about quiverful. Its about losing your health. If you spend more than a nanosecond looking in the movement, you hear all about the blessings of a full quiver. No one tells you about how the women lose their health, and they all do it. See, biologically we aren't made to have that many children. Modern diets, modern medicine and lower breastfeeding has caused quiverful women to have far, far more children than our bodies were biologically designed to carry in a lifetime. I don't know a single woman in years of being within quiverful circles that didn't start having serious health issues by the 4th to the 6th child. Even those who claim they were just 'born to birth babies' have health issues. They are just the ones who hide it better.

For me, my thyroid crashed after the 4th child. Looking back, my doctors believe it was probably going out of whack after the third. But, it completely crashed after the 4th. It was then a 6 year battle to first diagnosis and then attempt to reclaim my health from the fact that my thyroid prett much threw up its hands and declared it was done accomodating my procreation habits.

I got my lab slip in the mail from my doctor last week and tomorrow I will finally have the time to get to a local lab and have the labs drawn. Past experience tells me that I'm out of whack, which leaves me dreadfully tired and no time to blog. I'm holding on. My house is clean, which is something I seriously couldn't say in the past. I'm doing fine in school. The kids are not being neglected at all. I'm even baking most of the stuff my kids are eating now, which thrills me but is mostly due to an awesome kitchen appliance that makes it easy and fast. But, writing is not something I've had the energy nor mental capacity to do for awhile.

I need to get this thyroid issue re-stabilized before I lose anymore of the weight loss gains I've made. Its a hard, hard battle to lose weight with my thyroid. It only comes when I both have my thyroid hyper stabilized AND when I'm actively fighting to lose the weight. With the leg cramps so bad now, I've stopped most of the exercising. Wouldn't matter anyway, exercise intolerance is another lovely symptom of having my thyroid out of whack. Walk even the shortest distance and I'll feel like my heart is trying to throb out of my chest. Its not because I'm out of shape, a month ago I was walking a good 2 miles per day without trouble. Its because I need to restabilize my health before I can get things back on track.

I'll be battling this the rest of my life. I'm grateful that unlike some quiverful women the risks to my life are not continuing. In the last 5 years, I've seen seemingly healthy quiverful women drop dead within 6 months of giving birth more times than I can count. The last I heard from a good friend who began distancing herself from me when I began exiting the movement 15 months ago she had been in the ICU several times this fall, too much strain on her body from 8 kids in 12 years. Even she was considering stopping, but I doubt she will. Continuing to have children in the face of death is considered having FAITH. I got shunned and ex-communicated for speaking out against this stuff. I was already on my way out though. Nearly losing my life when baby J was born was the final straw for me. I was done, absolutely DONE. On the day I attempted to bond with my one day old baby and cordinate 3 units of blood being transfused I knew I was done. As I argued with my doctors that we were NOT going to use a 4th unit of blood, not going to expose me to my lifetime limit of blood products any further for this one birth, all I knew was that I would go home, eat tons of iron and vitamin C and restore my life by never, ever risking it again. The only contingent of that world still speaking to me is those who form their families via adoption. The bonds of adoption is stronger than quiverful in that tiny subset and I'm not the first to stop giving birth deliberately within that group.

When I started writing my story, I wanted to focus on me. This was about what happened to me, and how I was going to reclaim me from the wreckage of my life. What brought my marriage and my family to the brink of this wasn't important as finding my way out of it. Today, I feel a little differently. We didn't get ourselves here alone. There were forces who guided us, mentored us and encouraged us down the path of destruction. I did recognize them immediately, in part because for the 2 years previously I had been trying to get out. Escape required understanding the full extent of the chains though, and that didn't come until 6 months ago.

In between trying to find my brain cells in the thyroid fog I'm battling right now, I'm ready to look at not merely where we went but what took us down that path. We fell for a paradigm that was WRONG. It was wrong and by its very nature it was abusive. It taught me to be an invisible woman. And, it allowed II to be something he was not on his own. Without my full partnership in power and equality, that paradigm allowed him to walk down a path with his own demons that nearly destroyed this family. The truth is ugly, really quite ugly.

The most important thing is that we are out now. Yet, in addition to finding my own voice again, I'm also trying to navigate how to shield my children from that threat. Can, I raise them in the church and prevent my daughters from being taught they are worth less than men? Can I raise my children in the Christian faith and teach them the truth value of the Gospel? Do I even want it anymore, or has the Quiverful and the Patriarchial world so tainted the entire religion that I want to be done with it permenantly? As I find my own voice, those are the questions I find I must now ask, and that requires exploring where we've been and what took us there.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The history

Maybe someday I will take the time to move everything over. But the reality is that I'm a full-time student, a full-time mother...and I need to hop in the shower now to get to lecture in time. I never get a shower before II returns from his morning classes because I simply cannot trust M to be safe while I'm diverting my attention. That may change since the scuttle butt is that M is finally starting school on Monday (that process only took me 7 months to accomplish from when I decided it was time for him to return to public school). I'll believe it when I see it.

So, for old friends and maybe for new who might show up, the history is here Today is a new journey, in purple no less. Purple makes me happy, maybe colors and choices will motivate me to find the time out of my busy schedule to write more.

Life is....crazy. Its not all bad. Its not all good. But, it continues. I definitely need to write this week. Next week is the 6 month anniversary from when my life went to hell in a handbasket. And, today, I find myself far more willing to name names, so to speak. I find myself wanting to get to the meat and potatoes, the things I've spoken about with my friends since the start but haven't put into words because I didn't want to point fingers or lay blame. The shipwreck of my life was our own personal doing, afterall. We needed to rebuild our lives, not point fingers. But, the reality is that we didn't get here without guidance, and that guidance sure the hell wasn't good. I see new mothers saying the same things I said a decade ago, and I know their lives are going right down the path I headed down. They have all the sugar and joy I had...and behind closed doors I'll guarantee their lives will not be all roses either.

Moving things

Honestly, I just like the visual aesthetics better than at mommypress. I can't figure out how to customize the other, and I can't figure out how to post pictures. So, I'm going to work at moving things over. Blogger is just a more common option and as such as more features. Plus, I'm getting tired of the Pharmaceutical spam I keep getting and get to go away on the other.